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I've done a fair amount of eating in DC (and drinking...disappointedly...except for one decent cocktail bar in Old Town Alexandria) over the years but I'm now moving to the area in the next couple months (neighborhood to be determined). So looking to gather a list of current musts...both in food, cocktails, wine lists and beer lists.

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I've done a fair amount of eating in DC (and drinking...disappointedly...except for one decent cocktail bar in Old Town Alexandria) over the years but I'm now moving to the area in the next couple mon

I ate there a few years ago. I remember thinking it was just okay. Maybe it's different now--I remember some sort of inside-out meatball app. But he might like it.

Restaurant Nora was disappointing. As was an Italian place on Connecticut, just above the zoo.

You know about DonRockwell.com?



nope! but looks useful! how reliable is it?


useful, in my experience. Many of the regulars were regulars on eGullet, and some are members here.


many young, single people have found the area east of the Braddock Road and King Street metro stations to be a good place to live. You can walk to many food and drink places, and can get along without a car in many cases. Several tech firms, defense contractors, Motley Fool, etc are located in the area. Not cheap, though.

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ah, I'll be working at Fort Meade so I'll have to live somewhere northish....looking anywhere from Cleveland Park/Woodley Park to Silver Spring (not happy with this idea but the commute looks quite painful otherwise)...and driving to work looks like a sad necessity (you can take the MARQ to Odenton and then a shuttle bus to Fort Meade but the shuttle may not run early enough in the morning for my schedule....combined with the fact that you can't count on being able to leave at a set time in my line of work)...

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I'm woefully out of date on DC, but if you were there pre-2007ish, then Komi is probably a necessity. I also make sure I go to Oohs and Aahs whenever I'm down there, despite the quality of food being (directly) proportional to the amount of marijuana the chef has inhaled.

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By all means, check out DonRockwell.com.


Paul's favorite place is Restaurant Nora, but I suspect that won't be of much interest to you. After all, when we were there last November, there was a party of 90+-year-old Japanese American WW II vets who were celebrating finally getting medals for their fighting (on "our" side).


But what about places like Birch & Barley or ChurchKey (Neighborhood Restaurant Group)? I haven't been, but I like the pastry chef's recipes. :D

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I'll add Ray's the Steaks, 2300 N. Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA. It's close to the Pentagon, and has a wonderful wine director in Mark Slater.


Haven't been there yet, but everything I've heard about it has been very positive.

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Some more (with the caveat that this list is frozen in time circa 2008/09)


Obviously Komi and Oohs and Aahs per my last post. Cityzen is good, but maybe a bit of a "flashy generic hotel room". Citronelle did not impress - food, room, service were all off. Neither did Central, though others have done better than I did there. Corduroy was good in a crummy room, but I think has moved and appears to still get good reviews. 2 Amys for pizza and some farm to table stuff. Rib Pit way up 14th was a trip, though I doubt you'll find much to note coming up from the south. The Jose Andres restaurants were competent enough. Sushi Taro was good. Now, it's apparently excellent with a new sushi chef doing high end omakase. Breadline was famous for its sandwiches, although I always preferred the sandwiches at Dupont Market of all places. Firefly was good as well, but probably lots of churn since. Hank's Oyster Bar has a great patio, is only good for oysters. Cashion's Eat Place was another favourite, Cashion left but Don Rockwell still likes so who knows? Nora never did it for me. No matter what anyone tells you, Pizza Paradiso is a crummy mini-chain (though you could do worse as far as crummy mini-chains go).


U-street, 14th Street, and H-Street seem to have come alive in a very NBC type of way. Haven't been to any of those. Hope that's somewhat helpful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nathan -


DonRockwell.com is a very reliable and friendly board. And, if you wind up in Cleveland Park, Dino's (Italian Restaurant) is worth a visit. The owner, Dean Gold, is a member of DR.com and the place is solid, including wine list.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Both Dino and Palena Cafe are worthy choices in Cleveland Park. Dino has a superb wine list at totally reasonable prices, and will also mix up a proper Negroni. He posts on Rockwell, as stated above, and often alerts the board to specials; a couple of weeks ago, he had the first soft-shells of the season and posted about that. He's also serving snakehead, the invasive Asian fish that people are starting to eat.


In the district, Birch & Barley has proven to be consistently my favorite place (a couple of New Yorkers are the chefs). Upstairs, Churchkey is amazing for their beer selection but be forewarned, it's a freakin' zoo, and a free-for-all for the seats, which they seem to enjoy doing in DC.


The relatively new Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan, whose chef and sous hail from Michel Richard's Central, is very good - stick to wine or beer, though.


We had a delicious meal at Vidalia last week - and the happy hour is a steal.


There are plenty of Spanish tapas places - Estadio on 14th St. is good; Boqueria just opened as well...surprise, no wait list for the seats at the bar at either of these joints. At Estadio, they make some darn good cocktails, too. Unfortunately, Jose's places in the district seem to be getting a little long in the tooth, though the Jaleo in Bethesda is still supposed to be good.


Landrum knows his steaks (Ray's, et. al.) and the burgers at the various Hellburgers are almost perfect. I can't keep up with what's what in his numerous ventures and their names...check the websites.


Plenty of great drinking these days in DC - both Bourbon and Jack Rose Dining Saloon on revitalized 18th St. have simply amazing liquor (Bourbon/Scotch) selections and make good cocktails with them. For old-time boozing, you can do no better than the historic Tabard Inn on N Street.


The Gibson, The Passenger (and it's tiny back room - The Columbia Room), PS 7's all might make you think you're back in NYC drinking, much moreso than the restaurants in DC will have you thinking you're in NYC eating.


Of course, the 'burbs is where it's happening for ethnic eats. Plenty of great Vietnamese and Korean.


And in Alexandria, the mini-empire of Cathal Armstrong is, in my opinion, a no-brainer. Fine dining at Restaurant Eve, and fine Americana at The Majestic are just two of the options. His cocktail program is run by the uber-talented Todd Thrasher.


And when you need that hard-to-find bottle of booze, head straight to Ace Beverage on New Mexico Avenue. The incomparable Joe Riley stocks almost everything you'll ever need.


I'll also add - the pizza in DC blows - don't let anyone tell you any different. You might get lucky and have a decent pie sometime, somewhere...but...no.

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Almost like a liveblog:


Thanks to Joe for that tremendous info dump. I'll be adding more over the next couple days. This is only my second substantial trip back since I lived here in 2006-07. Initial observations: 14th and U has continued to explode. A ton of condo development, the number of bars and restaurants has easily tripled over the past five years. Late dinner after a long trip from Vegas at Busboys and Poets for pure sustenance. No reason to go here for the food. Fine for what it is - competent catfish with greens and a johnny cake that got heavy and boring mid way through, a decent quesadilla, an unremarkable burger, interesting crowd. No reason to go here unless you need something easy and late on a weeknight. Coffee at Peregrine Espresso. Very good. Excellent lemon yogurt as well. Pastries are meh.


Oh, and Nathan, buy a Britta filter. The tap water is beyond awful. Tastes like javex. Some buildings are better than others. Vegas water was pretty bad too - high iron content maybe.


ETA: Maybe not Nathan. Regardless, it's really bad right now.

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